Friday, April 24, 2015

Blog Tour (Review & #Giveaway): The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver (ARC) @FierceReads @tleaver

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The Secrets We Keep Tour Schedule



Title: The Secrets We Keep
Author:
Trisha Leaver
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Macmillan)
Blog Tour Organizer: MMSAI Tours
Release Date: April 28, 2015 Acquired Via:
Publisher

A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.


Praise for The Secrets We Keep

"Trisha Leaver crafts a powerful and haunting novel that will keep you up long after you read the last page. Full of twists and turns and FEELS, this book questions how far a person will go for her family . . . even if it means losing herself." - Lynne Matson, author of NIL

Haunting and beautiful, The Secrets We Keep, is a gripping, evocative examination of siblings' complex relationships. It compels us to question what we know, or think we know, about our loved ones and--most of all--ourselves. - Karen Rock, award-winning YA author and co-writer of the bestselling Camp Boyfriend series

My Review

I have no idea why I decided to review The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver because I have a problem with switcheroos in a novel. However, I'm so glad that I did because there is nothing better than a good cry while reading a well-written book. Do not be disheartened by that, my lovelies, if you don't like "sad" books - there was also smiling through the tears.

As I said, I generally don't like characters switching places in books, but I think it being consensual for the person giving up their identity makes it more palatable. Or maybe The Secrets We Keep was so good and Ella pulling me right into the story made me not even bat an eye at it. This was very much a character-driven novel, and I was happy to go on this very difficult journey with Ella.

I think my favorite thing about Ella was how much she loved Maddy, and that was also the hardest thing about the book. She felt like Maddy losing her life was her fault, and it was heartbreaking to watch her attempt to give up her own life to live Maddy's. And as she slowly found Maddy's secrets and revealed her own, it gave me All The Feels.

If you're a reader of contemporary novels or want to step outside the box like me, The Secrets We Keep is a great book to read. I can't wait to see it on the shelf at my library and start handing it to patrons.

- 4/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Indiebound | Kobo



About the Author

Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather irreverent black lab. (He is actually half Dalmatian so that could explain a bit of the excitability.) She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life. She is a member of the SCBWI, the Horror Writers Association, and the YA Scream Queens - a group of nine female authors who are deathly serious about their horror.

Links
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Ten (10) Winners will each get a finished copy of The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver!
US & Canada Addresses Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (ARC)

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Title: Dream a Little Dream (The Silver Trilogy #1)
Author:
Kerstin Gier & Anthea Bell (Trans.)
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. BYR (Macmillian)
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Acquired Via:
Publisher

Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yes, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially the one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys conduct dark magic rituals.

The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But what's really scaring Liv is that the dream boys seem to know things about her in real life, things they couldn't possibly know—unless they actually are in her dreams? Luckily, Liv never could resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute....


My Review

You can read Kayla's review HERE.

I read Gier's first trilogy The Ruby Red Trilogy and really enjoyed it. Considering I'm not generally a time-travel fiction fan, this was quite a feat. Gwyneth from Ruby Red was just so spunky and had such a silly, witty humor I had to smile while listening. Liv from Dream a Little Dream has the same spunk and humor so I just knew that I was going to enjoy it just as much. And if I had to wrap up the entire book into one word it would be "cute". In fact, in my two pages of notes on the book, I called it "cute" 6 times. I need a thesaurus apparently.

I do wonder if the slightly British humor is due to Gier's writing or Anthea Bell's translation, however. Bell translates both The Ruby Red Trilogy and Dream a Little Dream so either is possible. Either way, I want to be best friends with both of them. I did miss the narrator from The Ruby Red Trilogy, because her crisp British accent just added to my overall enjoyment of the story.

Regardless, I smiled throughout pretty much the entire book. I loved Liv's snark in her head like calling one of the gorgeous boys in school "Shaving Fun Ken." I did roll my eyes a few times about how much of an inquisitive idiot Liv was, but it advanced the cute story (See? I can't help myself). I giggled about how stubborn Liv was in refusing to believe in the supernatural. She's also a little more pragmatic than the normal YA heroine, because she and her sister both refuse to reduced to ninnies at the sight of a cute boy.

There is a little bit of a meandering plot that doesn't really go anywhere until the end. But I was so amused by Liv's humor and all the happenings in her family, I really didn't care. I was a little leery of the "Gossip Girl" type gossip blog at the beginning, but it worked its way into the story without feeling too much like a clone.

If you want a light and cute YA read with some British humor then pick Dream a Little Dream up. I'll definitely be picking up anything Gier writes and Bell translates in the future.

- 3.5/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Fishpond | Google Play | IndieBound



To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book for reviewing purposes through the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected the outcome of my review.

Waiting on Wednesday (103): Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Title: Blood of the Earth (Soulwood #1)
Author:
Faith Hunter
Publisher: Roc (Penguin)
Release Date: October 6, 2015

When Nell Ingram met skinwalker Jane Yellowrock, she was almost alone in the world, exiled by both choice and fear from the cult she was raised in, defending herself with the magic she drew from her deep connection to the forest that surrounds her.

Now, Jane has referred Nell to PsyLED, a Homeland Security agency policing paranormals, and agent Rick LaFleur has shown up at Nell’s doorstep. His appearance forces her out of her isolated life into an investigation that leads to the vampire Blood Master of Nashville.

Nell has a team—and a mission. But to find the Master’s kidnapped vassal, Nell and the PsyLED team will be forced to go deep into the heart of the very cult Nell fears, infiltrating the cult and a humans-only terrorist group before time runs out



The Jane Yellowrock series is one of my favorite urban fantasy series, so I did a little happy dance when I found out that Faith Hunter was writing a spin-off series. And, we get two Jane Yellowrock universe books in one year! The only thing I'm kind of leery about is the seeming focus that Rick LaFleur might be a love interest. I'm not a Rick LaFleur fan, but maybe it will be different when he's not Jane's love interest.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Blog Tour (Guest Post & #Giveaway): Desert Rising by Kelley Grant #PUYB @HarperVoyagerUS @PumpUpYourBook

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Desert Rising Tour Schedule



Title: Desert Rising
Author:
Kelley Grant
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse (HarperCollins)
Release Date: April 21, 2015

“It frightens me, knowing the One has called up two such strong individuals. It means that there are troubled times in our future, and you must prepare yourselves.”

The Temple at Illian is the crown jewel of life in the Northern Territory. There, pledges are paired with feli, the giant sacred cats of the One god, and are instructed to serve the One’s four capricious deities. Yet Sulis, a young woman from the Southern Desert, has a different perspective – one that just might be considered heresy...

Sulis’s twin Kadar, meanwhile, is part of a different revolution. When Kadar falls in love with a woman from a Forsaken caste, he finds he’s willing to risk anything to get her people to freedom. But with Sulis drawing a dangerous level of attention from the deities, and war about to break out on two fronts, change may not come as easily as either twin had hoped.

An astonishing debut, Kelley Grant brings to life a powerful new epic fantasy tale of determination and self-discovery.


Guest Post

Writing Advice
Kelley Grant

I think the most common advice given to new writers is “write what you know.” Common advice, and frustrating to a budding fantasy or science fiction writer. I’m writing about dragons, or spaceships that haven’t been invented yet. How can I write what I know, when what I’m writing doesn’t exist? And why does it matter? Shouldn’t a writer be free to let her imagination wander?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Blog Tour (Review): The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

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Title: The Dream Lover
Author:
Elizabeth Berg
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg has written a lush historical novel based on the sensuous Parisian life of the nineteenth-century writer George Sand—which is perfect for readers of Nancy Horan and Elizabeth Gilbert.

At the beginning of this powerful novel, we meet Aurore Dupin as she is leaving her estranged husband, a loveless marriage, and her family’s estate in the French countryside to start a new life in Paris. There, she gives herself a new name—George Sand—and pursues her dream of becoming a writer, embracing an unconventional and even scandalous lifestyle.

Paris in the nineteenth century comes vividly alive, illuminated by the story of the loves, passions, and fierce struggles of a woman who defied the confines of society. Sand’s many lovers and friends include Frédéric Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugène Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Marie Dorval, and Alfred de Musset. As Sand welcomes fame and friendship, she fights to overcome heartbreak and prejudice, failure and loss. Though considered the most gifted genius of her time, she works to reconcile the pain of her childhood, of disturbing relationships with her mother and daughter, and of her intimacies with women and men. Will the life she longs for always be just out of reach—a dream?

Brilliantly written in luminous prose, and with remarkable insights into the heart and mind of a literary force, The Dream Lover tells the unforgettable story of a courageous, irresistible woman.


Praise

“In her masterly new novel, Elizabeth Berg inhabits the adventurous heart of George Sand, making sense of a puzzling legend who dared to live and write against the grain.” — Nancy Horan

The Dream Lover—what a bold, insightful, and enticing novel. And how vigorously Elizabeth Berg brings us the iconoclastic life of George Sand. Berg writes with such intimacy and compassion that I think she must have some shared ancestral DNA with Sand. I savored every page.” — Frances Mayes

“What a rich, heartbreaking, triumphant novel Elizabeth Berg has written! I recommend reading it with a highlighter in hand to mark the insights about love and life and being a woman that are on every page so you can reread and savor them.” — Ann Hood

The Dream Lover is a historical novel at once expansively researched yet intimately imagined. George Sand may be the ultimate Berg heroine. ‘A life not lived in truth,’ Berg writes, ‘is a life forfeited.’ In this latest work, Elizabeth Berg has poured her own great gifts and her own great heart into the story of a woman determined to refuse any such forfeiture, no matter the cost.” — Leah Hager Cohen

The Dream Lover is the dream match of writer to subject, Elizabeth Berg animating George Sand so vividly that you feel the Frenchwoman speaking directly to you. Infamous for her eccentricities and her passions, Sand is shown to be a touching figure, a woman needing to love and be loved.” — Robin Black

My Review

Before being given the opportunity to review The Dream Lover, I didn't really know that much about George Sand. I'm so glad I read this novel, because George Sand was an extraordinary woman and a much needed voice in her time and ours.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Audiobook Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

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Title: Midnight Crossroad (Midnight, Texas #1)
Author:
Charlaine Harris
Narrator: Susan Bennett
Publisher: Ace (Penguin)
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Acquired Via:
Personal Collection

From Charlaine Harris, the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a darker locale—populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that’s how the locals prefer it...

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth...


My Review

I'm a bit of a book snob, in case you're new to the blog or haven't picked up on that yet. Though I loved both the Aurora Teagarden and Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris, the Southern Vampire Mysteries aka the "Sookie Stackhouse" books, left a bad taste in my mouth. It made me hesitant to pick up Midnight Crossroad though I've had a shiny, new hardcover sitting on my nightstand pile since its release day last year. And now that I've read it, I completely understand Tom Cruise's couch-jumping, and I'm hungry for more!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (ARC)

1 comment:


Title: Illusionarium
Author:
Heather Dixon
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins)
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours

Far, far north, in the cold aerial city of Fata Morgana, apprentice scientist Jonathan is preparing to leave for university.

He doesn't know about fantillium, the newly discovered chemical that allows people to share hallucinations—sometimes wondrous ones, sometimes appalling.

He doesn't know he holds the rare skill to control the hallucinations—to become an illusionist.

He doesn't know that fantillium can also open gateways to parallel worlds. Or that he will soon begin an epic journey, crossing cities and worlds, to save his family, his friends, and his very reality.

He doesn't know any of that... yet.

And when he does, will his compass continue to point true north? Or will it break apart?


My Review

Illusionarium is a tricky book for me to review. While it is fast-paced and stands apart from the typical YA novel (hello there, non-badass male protagonist!), I had a hard time getting into the book. Why, you ask? Was it quirky? Yes. Was the science steampunkery making sense? To me, sure! Did you connect with Jonathan or detest the evil Queen Honoria? Well, not really.

Blog Tour (Review): The Witch of Painted Sorrows by @MJRose

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The Witch of Painted Sorrows Tour Schedule

Welcome to my stop on international-bestselling author M.J. Rose's virtual tour for The Witch of Painted Sorrows that is running from February 16th – April 30th.



Title: The Witch of Painted Sorrows (The Daughters of La Lune #1)
Author:
M.J. Rose
Publisher: Atria Books (Simon & Schuster)
Acquired Via: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Release Date: March 17, 2015

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.


READ AN EXCERPT.

Praise for The Witch of Painted Sorrows

“Rose’s new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris—a perfect match for the author’s lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. A cliffhanger ending will leave readers hungry for the next volume. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting.” Kirkus Reviews

“A haunting tale of possession.” Publishers Weekly

My Review

M.J. Rose is one of the first authors that I ever reviewed as a blogger, so when I got the opportunity to read and review The Witch of Painted Sorrows, I was very excited. The Witch of Painted Sorrows is almost as good as what I've read in Rose's Reincarnationist series. I mean, we can all agree that Rose writes some beautiful stuff, right? Right.